Govt. lackadaisical over appointing chairperson of Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy

The film fraternity is overwhelmingly concerned over the absence of a chairperson in the State Film Academy (Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy) particularly as the 7th Bangalore International Film Festival (BIFFes) is approaching.

Various programmes taken up by the previous chairpersons have come to a grinding halt with no chief to take decisions. The government has been apathetic to the situation, with the position being vacant for the past 16 months. Though the name of actor Jaimala made the rounds for the coveted post, her membership in the Legislative Council has put an end to that.

Official sources claim that though academy officials are trying their best to keep the institution active, they are unable to take important decisions.

The previous edition of BIFFes suffered because of the absence of a chairperson and festival organisers are worried a similar fate will hit the annual film event which is just six months away. In fact, the 6th edition of BIFFes was conducted by officials in the absence of a chairperson and an Information Minister.

According to H.N. Narahari Rao, artistic director of three previous BIFFes, preparations should commence at least 10 months prior to the event. The government, which had promised a permanent secretariat in the academy, has forgotten about it.

Speaking to The Hindu, T.S. Nagabharana, first chairperson of the academy, said the very purpose of setting up the academy has been defeated, thanks to the reluctance of the government in filling the post. “Except ‘Belli-Hejje’, a programme that introduces history, culture and traditions of Kannada cinema through stalwarts, no other programme has been carried out.

‘Belli Mandala’, a programme to set up local film associations to promote film culture has become defunct, and ‘Belli Sakshi’, another programme to create interest in films among college students failed to take off, Mr. Nagabharana added.

Similarly, work on digitalising over 3,000 films produced in the State in the past 80 years and subtitling them to create an archive, with the support of the Bangalore Development Authority, has stopped for the past two years. “None of the work envisaged is moving forward in the absence of a chairperson,” he said.

Member of Legislative Council Tara Anuradha, who was a former chairperson of the academy said, “Nothing is happening in the academy except day-to-day affairs.” The government, which promised to appoint a chairperson at the Belgaum legislative session failed to keep it, she added.